The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and, often, travel. But while you’re packing your bags and checking off your to-do list, there’s another concern to keep in mind: the potential for picking up bed bugs during your travels. These pesky pests, unfortunately, don’t take a vacation just because you do.
Here’s what every traveler needs to know about bed bugs and how to spot them upon your return:
5 Small Signs You Picked Up Bed Bugs & What To Do Next
1. Unexplained Bites or Rashes
Upon waking up in the morning, you might notice small, red, itchy bumps on your skin. They might be in a straight line or clustered together. Often, we don’t react much to the bites, so they may simply be a few small red dots on your skin you know weren’t there before. If you’ve recently traveled and are seeing little red marks, especially if they’re itchy, bed bugs may be the culprit.
2. Tiny Blood Stains on Sheets
As bed bugs feed, they can leave behind small blood spots. If you notice tiny rust-like stains on your sheets, pajamas, or mattress after sleeping, it’s a telltale sign of these unwelcome guests. Regularly inspecting your sleeping areas, especially after traveling, can help detect their presence early.
3. Dark, Tiny Black Spots
Bed bugs also leave fecal spots that resemble tiny black dots or dirt, often found along mattress seams, box springs, or in the crevices of bed frames. (If you’ve ever had a pet with fleas, you will have seen “flea dirt”, which is essentially the same.) Keep an eye out for these spots, especially in hotel rooms or other sleeping accommodations while you’re on the road, as well as when you get home, as it’s a tell-tale sign of bed bugs.
4. A Musty Odor
If you’ve ever caught a whiff of a musty or sweetish odor emanating from your bed, room, or luggage, it might not be your imagination. Bed bugs release pheromones, and in large infestations, this smell can become noticeable. It’s akin to the scent of a wet towel that’s been left out too long. Don’t forget that we easily become used to smells, so if you notice it when you first walk into a hotel room (or your bedroom), take note.
5. Actual Sightings of the Pests
Bed bugs are adept at hiding, but they’re not invisible. Adult bed bugs are about the size of a small apple seed, flat, and reddish-brown. Younger bed bugs, or nymphs, are smaller and more translucent. If you see a bug resembling this, don’t wait to confirm its identity to take action and call in the experts (or the front desk, if you’re still traveling!).
What To Do Next
If you’ve identified any of the above signs, don’t panic. First, thoroughly vacuum your entire home, focusing on the bedroom and any luggage you’ve used. Wash all your bedding, clothes, and curtains on a hot wash and dry them on the highest setting to kill any lingering bugs.
These steps will make you comfortable for a few days, but it’s rarely enough to eradicate the bed bugs. Bed bugs are resilient, and their eggs can be particularly hard to destroy. If you suspect an infestation, it’s crucial to act quickly and call your local pest specialist.
Your Next Steps with AZEX Pest
For residents of Arizona and surrounding areas, help is just a call away. If you’re concerned that your holiday travels have brought back more than just souvenirs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free inspection. Our seasoned professionals can ensure your home becomes, and stays, bed bug-free. Better still, our heat treatment solutions are discreet, fast, and will allow you to return to your home in 24 hours or less. Contact us today.